Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Year Comes New Reading!

Happy New Year to all readers out there in the blogosphere and beyond! Another year has come and gone, and we are now at the beginning of the next. Time to explore some highly recommended reading from the new award reading lists provided by the Texas Library Association (TLA)!

In the past month TLA have announced the following reading lists:

Texas 2x2 Reading List

The 2x2s are books that are perfect for readers from ages 2 to 2nd grade. There are picture books then the Easy Readers (aka Beginning Readers) chapter books. This is a collection of books that I always trying to use more because (1) it's always good to promote the award/reading list collections and (2) you know for sure that these books would fit into the required age limit.

Texas Bluebonnet Award

The Bluebonnet books are for readers in 3rd - 6th grade and range from picture books up to juvenile chapter books. These are generally great reads to recommend to people. Schools in Texas actually require students to read from the list.

A master list is created each year and one winning title will be announced by the end of January.

Note: I was very excited to see two great poetry books making the list this year:

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer and illus by Josée Masse

This is an amazing book of poems about the classic and well-loved fairy tales. Each tale has two poems. They are exactly identical to each other, except one has been flipped text-over-text to tell the story of another important character in the tale. Does that make sense? Look to my Poetry Break I created based off of one of the poems! I must say that this is a must-buy book to introduce poetry on a classic and fun subject.

Amazing Faces selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illus. by Chris Soentpiet

This books is a collection of poems that are about the amazing diverse range of people that we live with. Written by today's popular and some award-winning poets the poems include stories of a baby, a boy who wants to be friends the other boys on the street, a high school football hero, a girl in karate, and the love of an abuela. The book is perfectly diverse in the culture and includes a bilingual poem!

Lone Star Reading List

Lone Stars are for grades 6th - 8th and consist of juvenile and some young adult novels and occasional nonfiction (dependent on how your books are placed into collections, that is).

The first book from this list that I'm going to get my hands on is The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. I saw this book a couple months back when it first arrived in the library; however, I had forgotten it on my many scraps of "To Read" papers until I saw it on the reading list.

This is about Elizabeth who just an after-school got a new job at the "New-York Circulating Material Repository," a library that circulates objects instead of books. She discovers a room that houses items from all the famous Brother Grimm fairy tales, which begin to disappear and it's up to Elizabeth to find out who.

Tayshas are primarily young adult novel with the occasional nonfiction and adult reads. They're geared towards grade 9th - 12th grade.

The one book from this reading list that I truly liked looking through was Years of Dust: The Story Behind the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin. This nonfiction title has amazing photographs from the Dust Bowl, and is a great book for teen readers to explore one of the US's moment of history.

Another nonfiction book that is worth reading is Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge. This title is about fight to vote and the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. The story is told through the voices of men, women, children and teens. A very good read to explore and learn.

All in all, I was really happy to see quite a number of books that I'm familiar with make it onto all the lists. My "To-Reading" List just got longer! Follow any of the highlighted links to get to the websites to get the complete reading list!

Explore and enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Longing for Beauty - A Poetry Break

I got the book from which these poems came from for Christmas (which I was very excited about!), and there were so many good poems to pick from it was hard to choose one for a poetry break!

There are so many different styles of poems! Acrostic, haiku, concret, and more! Poet Marylin Singer has beautifully introduced the Reverse Poem in her new book Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse where she has taken the famous fairy tales and written two poems telling the story from two points of view. The "cool" affect of these poems is they are the exact same words, only one is in reverse. To introduce the a poem, ask the children if they are familiar with the fairy tale and briefly discuss reverse poems to them.

Longing for Beauty
by Marilyn Singer

(poem 1)
A beast
can love
A moist muzzle
can welcome
a rose.
A hairy ear
can prize
a nightingale, singing.
Beneath fur,
A soft heart

(poem 2)
a soft heart.
beneath fur.
A nightingale singing,
can prize
a hairy ear.
A rose
can welcome
a moist muzzle.
can love
a Beast

After reading the poems as the children if they know which poem is about which character: Beauty or the Beast? (Note, if you show the book's illustrations this could help them decide as the artwork generally shows the characters standing on the left or right side of the page just like the poems are.) When the children know what reversible poems, they can create their own simple reversible poems about nature or a single object. If someone wants to be ambitious and try to write their own reversible poem stories based on a fairy tale or beyond let them try!

Singer, Marylin. 2010. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. Illus. by Josée Masse. NY: Dutton Children's Books (imprint of Penguin Group Inc.). ISBN: 9780525479017.